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How to cook barley faster? Cook it in an Instant Pot!Hulled barley is a true whole grain. It’s rich in nutritious vitamins and minerals and has lots of benefits over pearl barley. Though it takes longer to cook hulled barley than pearl barley, it’s no longer an issue, since we’re using our Instant Pot!

Are you looking for a healthier alternative to your regular side dishes, like steamed white, or brown rice? Great news, there are many different whole grain alternatives, and today we’re going to show you how to cook super healthy, chewy, and nutty barley.

If you’ve never had barley before, or only had it in soups (beef and barley soup, anyone?), then you’ll be surprised what a delicious and satisfying side dish it is!

But before we jump into cooking barley, let’s talk about what barley is and what types of barley you can find on the market.

What is barley?

Barley is one of the oldest grains known to man, and it’s packed with fiber, vitamin B, protein and other minerals like phosphorus, magnesium and niacin. It helps to reduce cholesterol, therefore making it a heart-healthy grain.

And thanks to its great source of fiber, barley also promotes a healthy digestive system.

In addition, barley helps to regulate blood sugar, which is a great addition to a diet of a diabetic. 

What types of barley are out there?

There’re mainly two types of barley: pearled and hulled.

  • Pearled barley is basically a processed version of barley. Think of white rice vs brown rice. Pearled barley is creamy white color and most commonly available too.
  • Hulled barley, on other hand, is a true whole grain with only outermost hulls removed. It’s golden brown in color and is the most nutritious version. All the nutritional benefits we talked about earlier applies to hulled barley. While you can find hulled barley at any natural food stores, I buy mine on Amazon. I love this one! Since hulled barley still has its bran, it takes a little longer to cook than pearled barley. But that’s an easy fix, since we’re using our Instant Pot to cook it.

How to serve barley?

While barley is a fantastic addition to soups, there are plenty of other ways to serve this deliciously chewy grain. Here’re just a few ideas:

  • Toss them in salads for an additional texture and nutrients.
  • Serve it as a simple side dish, in place of rice. My personal favorite is to serve it with beef stew!
  • Barley is great in stir fries, like fried rice!
  • You can also make risotto with barley!!!

How to Cook Hulled Barley in Instant Pot

How to cook barley faster? Cook it in an Instant Pot, and you'll get deliciously nutritious side with a great texture!


  • 1 cup hulled barley
  • 2.5 cups water, or stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Bay leaf
  • Olive oil, or butter


  • Rinse hulled barley in a mesh sieve. Drain well.
  • Put the well drained barley into the inner insert of your Instant Pot.
  • Add water, or stock, salt and bay leaf, if using.
  • Close the lid and make sure the valve is set to “sealing”.
  • Set the Instant Pot to Multigrain function for 23 minutes.
  • Once the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes, and then carefully turn the valve to venting. Once the pin drops, carefully open the lid.
  • Fluff the barley with a wooden spoon, or fork. Don’t worry if you see some water, you can either drain it, or leave it as is. I usually leave it as is.
  • Stir in olive oil or butter to taste.


This recipe has been tested in my favorite Instant Pot DUO 6qt.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 109kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 396mg, Potassium: 139mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 7IU, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg
All images and text ©. Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimate only. Read full disclosure here.

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